It’s hardly a groundbreaking announcement when you hear new features have been added to a product update and it’s easy to tune out expecting more of the same. But with the Cognos TM1 10.2.2 release the new capabilities are almost impossible to ignore when you consider it’s made business intelligence more accessible than ever for TM1 users.
What’s really cool about this release is it opens the doors to the Cognos BI platform for free (if you’re up to date on your licenses) and, when combined with TM1, the result is a raft of new abilities.
At the top of that list is the ability to use dashboards to monitor performance so you can visualise and explore your data in new ways, designed with user practicality at heart.
Dashboards can be made to get a holistic view of organisational or departmental performance and monitor how well the organisation is tracking against plans at a monthly, weekly or even daily level.
You can also easily explore trends, which obviously enables you to react quicker. You can monitor where the values are within certain ranges and thresholds and be alerted based on key events. Essentially, it allows you to be proactive rather than reactive.
On top of that, the days of having to log in and run reports are over, because rich and interactive reports can now be sent to your inbox or consumed on your mobile devices. Whether it’s your weekly sales numbers, your financial results or the key metrics you use to monitor your business, you can now get these on the go so you’re not chained to your desk.
The other exciting feature of this release is Cognos Analysis for Excel (CAFE). The big news for users here is that this looks set to replace Perspectives because of its ability to let you work directly inside Excel to expore data and also because it’s WAN-optimised. That optimisation means Excel users in different locations can get similar performance to those in the same office without having to use remote screen sharing technology. CAFE also gives you the ability to publish content to the Cognos BI content store – so you can organise into a folder structure that effectively streamlines how you organise how you interact with and keep track of your reports.
But for all its pros there is one key caution with this update. While CAFE gives you a wider scope of options than Perspectives, not all the functionality from Perspectives is available yet, such as the dynamic expand and collapse of active forms and the ability to publish templates to TM1 web. Those drawbacks, however, are likely to be fixed in the next release, which I’m anticipating we’ll see before the end of the year so that there is like-for-like functionality. But that’s more a “what we want to see” anticipation rather than a “what we’re guaranteed to see” so we will just have to wait for what IBM has in store
Overall, Cognos BI and TM1 is a winning combo – these things have been talking together for a long time but now that it is even more accessible to users the value for money is terrific. IBM is certainly a visionary in the space and with their solutions they can achieve the breadth of requirements that customers face – And in terms of what you get under the TM1 license now, it should be better than what any competitors are offering based on what it enables you to do. The good news is that users seem to get more and more with every TM1 release and I can’t see this changing anytime soon!
Watch the recorded webinar here